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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317480

Title: Subsurface drip irrigation reduces evaporative loss, increasses WUE

item Evett, Steven - Steve
item Brauer, David
item Colaizzi, Paul
item Tolk, Judy
item O`Shaughnessy, Susan

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/12/2015
Publication Date: 3/12/2015
Citation: Evett, S.R., Brauer, D.K., Colaizzi, P.D., Tolk, J.A., Oshaughnessy, S.A. 2015. Subsurface drip irrigation reduces evaporative loss, increasses WUE. Meeting Abstract. Poster presentation for Ogallala Workshop, March 12, 2015.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: It is known that irrigation application method can impact crop water use and water use efficiency (WUE), but the mechanisms involved are incompletely understood, particularly in terms of the water and energy balances during the growing season from pre-irrigation through planting, early growth and yield development stages. Grain corn (Zea mays L.) and sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] were grown on four large weighing lysimeters at Bushland, Texas in 2013 (corn) and 2014 (sorghum). Two of the lysimeters and surrounding fields were irrigated by subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) and the other two were irrigated by mid elevation spray application (MESA). Crop evapotranspiration (ET) was measured using the weighing lysimeters and soil water content was measured using the neutron probe. Periodic measurements of plant height, width, leaf area index and biomass were made, and final biomass and yield were measured. Micrometeorological measurements included incoming and outgoing short and long wave radiation, soil heat flux, precipitation, air temperature and humidity and wind speed. Irrigation amounts were metered. Compared with MESA irrigation, using SDI saved from 53 to 85 mm of water that was lost to evaporation early in the season (pre-plant to 25 days after planting) in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Sorghum, not a crop ordinarily considered for SDI, was grown successfully using SDI with yields averaging 6.48 Mg/ha, comparable to others reported for short season sorghum at Bushland, and with WUE larger than or comparable to that achieved with MESA. In the relatively dry 2013 season, SDI reduced overall corn water use by 147 mm while increasing yields by 1.88 Mg/ha (20%) and WUE by 0.64 kg/m3 (61%) compared with MESA full irrigation.